I’ve been here before, sitting in the quiet before the end, wondering what lies on the other side of the storm. I am the crazy person who has entered four contests on Inkshares, one of which I won with a group of amazing talents much larger than mine. Four contests in a year. I can mark them like seasons in my life on Inkshares.The first contest was my introduction to Inkshares as a whole. The Nerdist contest came along at a time when I was waiting for my final edit to return on Shadow of the Owl, when I had already written a book, created a cover, bought my ISBNs and prepared to self-publish. I hit submit assuming many things, not the least of which was that it would easy (not unlike self-publishing on its own).
Next I tossed Deus Hex Machina into the Sword & Laser the Sequel contest, largely because I already had a funding campaign for Shadow of the Panther up on the site and didn’t want to resubmit. I’m glad I made that choice, because while I didn’t win that contest, I did get far enough to grab interest in the project from outside and even eventually get the book a light publishing contract. The outside interest ended up pushing me to write a book while I was funding it (something I highly suggest no one ever do), writing a book I originally thought would never see the light of day. It was at this point that I promised I would never do another contest, by the way.
When the Nerdist Video Game contest came along, I was at the right place at the right time with a group of writing colleagues who wanted to try something crazy -- submit an anthology. The result was a first place win for Too Many Controllers, to which I submitted a story I had been working on for years that is currently titled "Final Boss." I am incredibly proud of that story, mostly because it represents my overcoming a huge fear of short fiction that’s hounded me since I let fear push me out of the fiction side of my creative writing degree at USC.
And now, The List 2016 is drawing to a close. In little under six hours I will be ending my first year with Inkshares the way I began it: Watching a contest end. I find myself introspective (obviously) rather than dejected at the results of this contest. Sitting seventh in a contest that I was invited into is a rather big honor. I have a finished manuscript waiting until the contest closes today, one that I firmly believe is the best writing I’ve ever done. No matter what result happens from this contest, I will be able to look back at this year with Inkshares and smile. I have one book published, two more in production once I send in DHM, and many more projects. I have found a community of disparate writers from around the world, and a strange and wonderful company that links them all together in this crazy publishing fever dream.
What’s next up for me in 2017? I am about to write another couple of short stories in the Shadow of the Owl universe. Once I have those done and published I’ll be planning out the sequel to DHM and then hammering out the next (and final) version of Shadow of the Panther. That book needs to be finished -- it’s been restarted so many times at this point that it must assume I don’t love it. Luckily I have the outline complete on what it’s going to look like, and I think I’ve settled on a premise that will fit the fantasy of the series while still innovating within it.
Two stories, two books, zero contests: that sounds like a great year to me. If 2016 was the year of funding books, I think 2017 will be the year of writing books, and maybe even publishing a couple too. That sounds pretty great to me.
Greetings hexers and machina pilots,
I just closed the book on the revision of my second draft of Deus Hex Machina. The feedback from the beta readers was positive, so I felt pretty confident in pushing forward with a general language pass on the draft.
In the end, I have about 73,000 words, which comes out to just under 300 pages spread over sixteen chapters. I am very happy with the end result of my personal edits, so no matter what results come of The List contest, I will be submitting my draft to Inkshares on the 31st (that if I can keep my overexcited self from just sending the thing over today) From then the book heads into a production process that takes anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
Thank you for supporting this book for the year it took to fund and then write it. Hopefully next year I’ll be talking to you about a book that’s already published. Wouldn’t that be a great way to end 2017?
One last request: For anyone interested in preordering DHM, there are 10 more days in The List contest, so now’s the perfect time. While you get a copy of the book, you also will help give it a chance to get a full publication contract, which means a spiffy pro cover, even more delicious edits to hone the story, and distribution onto bookstores nationwide.
Have a great Tuesday friends and as always
May the code replicate eternal.
And then, all of a sudden, it was done.
Greetings Hexers and Machina Riders:
Do we have some things to talk about! So much has happened in the last week my head is spinning. Let’s get right to it:
Extra Life Stream this Evening
I’ll be streaming Heroes of the Storm tonight for the Extra Life charity over on my Twitch channel, starting at 6 PM CST and running until midnight. Come cheer me on as I main Sylvanas and try to figure out if I can still snipe towers behind enemy gates. It should be fun times.
Donate to my Extra Life fund
If you watch (and even if you can’t) help me get to $100 by donating here. I have already raised $40 for kids in need, so I’m 1/3 of the way there. Woncha help out?
The List 2016 contest
This week Inkshares announced which books were selected for their end-of--the-year contest, and Deus Hex Machina is on The List! It’s a crazy big honor to be among such amazing books and their authors which leads me to my next item on the agenda:
A ton more Deus Hex Machina stuff is coming
A new contest means a new campaign, so I’ve been working in the last few days to shape what a second campaign for DHM would look like. Astute readers among you will already notice I’ve updated the book’s Inshares page, refereshed my cover concept, and put up a couple new character bios. In addition I have uploaded the revised first chapter from the 2nd draft -- I think you’ll be happy with the changes.
My edit is plugging right along, and won’t stop just because another contest has popped into my life. You don’t stop feeding your kids just because extended family dropped by unannounced. You pull up extra chairs and make more desserts.
And I plan on more desserts friends. I will try to keep the updates meaningful throughout this contest, but I do have a good amount of fun stuff planned, and I want to share it all with you.
My goal for this campaign will be to get to 400 readers. It’s a huge crazy unimaginable number, but I think we can do it. If you’re following the book but haven’t purchased, I’ll be reaching out to you personally in the coming weeks to ask for your order. If you have purchased the book, I’ll be reaching out to you personally to ask for your referral.
In exchange for your support of the book I have planned more goodies: live-edits, fan art contests, a contest for the ARG -- yes Qathren YOBIBYTE got the jump on you Sombra. You got nothin’ on a hexer from the future.
It’s gonna be a fun, weird ride, and I hope you’ll join me. I’ll see you tonight.
Editing is in process on the second draft of Deus Hex Machina (my spreadsheet of many colors is about 60% blue now to indicate finished scenes), and although I had to push into November, I am expecting to be done soon.
But that’s not what I’m here to talk to you about. Today I will be joining forces with Extra Life and starting the first of four gaming sessions where I will stream for charity -- specifically Children’s Hospital of Alabama. My goal is to raise $100 to help kids at the hospital get the treatment they need, and I will be streaming every Sunday evening throughout the month of November over on my Twitch channel. I’ll be starting at 8PM Central, and am thinking it might be fun to let the audience help make my choices as I start a new character in Stardew Valley. If you like watching gaming, stop by and say hi, and if you like what you see, please consider donating to a good cause.
WHO: Well, me, actually.
WHAT: A Charity Gaming Stream for Extra Life
WHEN: 8PM Central every Sunday evening throughout November
WHY: To raise a minimum of $100 for Children’s of Alabama. Donate here if you want to jump the line and just give money to kids without having to watch me make a fool of myself online. Although, I think that’s half the fun.
See you tonight!
Today is a big day, one that I have been dreading and anticipating in equal measure. Today, I officially start editing Deus Hex Machina and building my second draft.
This is not a drill...only one day left to get your preordered, first edition copy of the gaming anthology Too Many Controllers. I will be contributing a cyberpunk short story to this future masterpiece, and if you are a fan of Deus Hex Machina, you are gonna want to read this story because it’s canon. Tomorrow the funding period ends on TMC, so now is your last chance to get your copy.
I am in the planning stages of my short story, but will have it completed by the end of the month. Here’s the premise: Amiina Kym is a brilliant research scientist, the sort who graduate from med school at 18 and complete grad school in a year. Being in the 28th century, she attended university virtually, she spent her entire grad school career working to create a cure for the horrible disease that killed her mother. But she’s at an impasse.
First there’s the fact that she’s living out on a floating algae farm off the coast of Orange County. It’s not exactly like you can get research supplies easily when you’re on a former oil rig in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Second is that although she’s narrowed down the last component she needs for the serum, that component no longer exists; it was killed off centuries ago by the Los Angeles Plague.
So Amiina is stuck in her research, stuck in a dead end job playing nurse to a bunch of crotchety algae farmers, stuck without a degree to justify the time and expense she’s poured into this serum. The only thing that saves her from going completely insane is Dyad Online, the VRMMO she spends every spare moment playing, and her dashing battle partner known only as Harrow. When fighting the last boss of the game becomes much more than just getting the world first kill, Amiina learns that digital decisions have real world consequences.
Right now I’m running with the working title of "Final Boss," and I’m excited to delve into a world of high stakes gaming, digital adventure, and virtual romance. Want to know more about Amiina? Then preorder your copy of Too Many Controllers today and find out which DHM character makes a cameo!
First Draft is Complete!
Thursday night at about 10:30 I wrote the final words of the Deus Hex Machina first draft. I had been pressing to get it done by the end of June, and through some help from motivational guru and all around fabulous person Elayna May Darcy (seriously go order They Are the Last, it’s funding now and it’s awesome), I was able to get all twelve chapters finished on time.
So what happens now? Well, first off I’m going to celebrate with some gaming. Then probably Tuesday I will start working on my short story for Too Many Controllers. After that is complete it’s time to start planning for the Shadow of the Owl sequel, Shadow of the Panther. I know many of your have been waiting to find out what happens to Mylena in [spoilers], and I promise you I haven’t forgotten her.
That’s not to say things aren’t progressing on DHM. My cover designer is already working on comps and I have a developmental editor lined up and waiting. But first, I want to get the first draft in its raw, unfiltered state into the hands of a few select readers to get initial impressions. If you are someone who likes to help make a good book better, I am trying to build a beta reader group. Please email me amanda [at] goldleafbooks [dot] com and let me know that you’re interested. Warning: must love cyberpunk and have an eye for spotting egregious errors in the plot.
Once I have the round done, I’ll head into the second draft and fix anything that stood out to me and my readers (I have a mental list of weak areas I want to shore up). After the second draft is complete it will be off to dev edit land, and hopefully, plot perfection.
Thanks for following along on this journey. The book is done! Let’s celebrate!